Surround MP3s and more

By Julio Franco
May 3, 2004
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  1. The Fraunhofer Institute, creators of the MP3 format, have been working on new extensions that will add for the consumer and most likely to manufacturers as well.

    According to this story at PCMag, the updated MP3 format will become available later this year and will offer 5.1 output while still maintaining the compact file size. In case you didn't realize it, the current format is 2-channel stereo and although current soundcard drivers and software can usually mirror channels and play on rear speakers, it's still not 'true' surround.

    The Fraunhofer Institute is also adding copyright protection to the format, coincidentally enough this week Microsoft has also unveiled their much awaited DRM (digital rights management) tools that are seen as a potential way to let subscription music services such as Napster and RealNetworks' Rhapsody move to portable MP3 players.

    Will the new, not-so-flexible MP3 succeed? We will see.
  2. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,383   +15

    With copyright protection... no, it wont - I dont think so anyways. Sounds to me like they just shot themselves in the foot ;)
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,456   +288

    Well doesn't that just mean that you could create copyright protected mp3s? You can probably create them without that too, otherwise the bands on mp3.com and other sites then would have issues getting their music out wouldn't they?
    And so if you can create mp3s without that protection, then I don't see it being a big deal, the groups that get pre-releases and leak them - leak them on purpose, and they wouldn't turn on that feature. If that is in fact how it works.
  4. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,383   +15

    Indeed SNGX1275, as long as not everything is copyrighted, and these mp3s arent going to be mp3s for sale or something along those lines.
  5. OS samurai

    OS samurai Newcomer, in training Posts: 193

    As long as the DRM copy protection features are optional this may work but I stress May;) I hate the whole idea of DRM if it is going to effect when where & how I play my music. e.g. if I am limited as to the number & type of devices I can play my music on then now way:evil: the good news is if this tech is to intrusive it will most likely be rejected by the masses.
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    The copy protected MP3 is not a problem.

    Provided that there is a possibilty to create unsigned versions of the new format then you can always reencode the copyrighted MP3 without DRM info and have a protection free MP3 with slightly degraded quality. And noone will be able to track you.

    This is probably a marketing move by Fraunhofer because they get royalties from MP3 encoders. If they manage to attract online music sellers (with DRM) and movie/game industry (surround) it means more $$$ for them.
  7. Gundalo

    Gundalo Newcomer, in training

    stereo -> original Dolby Surround

    MP3s may only have 2 channels, however the original Dolby Surround system which came out in the late 80s is also contained in 2 channels. I've been able to receive some surround signal from MP3s ripped from Audio CDs with Dolby Surround, and I picked up some surround signal from DIVX encoded (MP3 audio) Movies.

    If Dolby was smart enough to encode 4 channels into just 2 (still analog), then mp3s happened to be just enough audio data to maintain those channels (sometimes)
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